Does it matter that from a legal standpoint there is no such thing as a global citizen?
Not to us.
But this is something we wish we had the power to declare.
We wish we had the power to declare ourselves citizens of the world and carry a world passport.
Yes, it is true, we do identify with our cultural identity, as something that we were born into, no better nor worse than anyone else’s. Our skin color is our skin color, our language is our language, our family backgrounds are our family backgrounds and our national heritage is our national heritage. Even our are our collective history are our stories.
However, experiencing the world through travel, has provided both Miro and I with something much greater:
A New Global Perspective
The ability to see that that story we’ve been fed all of our lives is not true. America (or any other country for that matter) is NOT number 1! We are not entitled to more happiness, more resources, more intelligence more love, more prosperity by virtue of being a national citizen.
However, those are the messages bred into full blown ‘nationalism‘. Being separate from one another, better then each other, etitles us to ignore our humanity.
That is precisely where our global citizenship is found.
Humanity is our family, the world is our home…
We believe our citizenship and responsibility belong to the earth and identify with our common humanity, rather than that of a country.
I had always been quite liberal in my way of thinking even before our traveling so those who have known me prior to our traveling, this may not come as a surprise to you, but
I hereby declare ourselves as Citizens of the World
Global Citizenship is more than simply knowing that we are citizens of the globe. It’s more than simply acknowledging our responsibilities to one other and to the Earth itself. Global Citizenship is about understanding the need to tackle injustice and inequality on this beautiful earth we collectively inhabit, and having the desire and fortitude to actively work to do so.
Global Citizenship is a way of thinking and behaving. It is an outlook on life, a belief that we can make a difference. It is about valuing the Earth as precious and unique, and safeguarding it’s life and resources for future generations. It’s about honoring all of humanity as brothers and sisters of the same family, all with diverse backgrounds and opinions, no better, no worse than your own. It’s about identifying with the earth and humanity first before we start narrowing our beliefs, passing judgements, viewing one another as somehow separate from oneself.
I had the desire to explore what being a Global Citizen means to others:
Global citizenship applies the whole world to bring world peace and the concept of citizenship to a global level and is strongly connected with the concepts of globalization and cosmopolitanism. Global citizenship can be defined as a moral and ethical disposition which can guide the understanding of individuals or groups of local and global contexts, and remind them of their relative responsibilities within various communities.
Here is a wonderful list compiled by Oxfam (1997) about the responsibilities of a Global Citizen. We wholeheartedly agree and strive to live by these principals.
We see a Global Citizen as someone who:
- is aware of the wider world and has a sense of their own role as a world citizen
- respects and values diversity
- has an understanding of how the world works economically, politically, socially, culturally, technologically and environmentally
- is outraged by social injustice
- participates in and contributes to the community at a range of levels from local to global
- is willing to act to make the world a more sustainable place
- takes responsibility for their actions.
What does Being a Global Citizen Mean to You?
To explore this concept further, we asked a few traveling families about their ideas of being a Global Citizen. Our questions were:
What does being a Global Citizen mean to you?
How do you express your Global Citizenship?
Dr. Jessica Voigts from Wandering Educators.com says:
Being a good global citizen means:
Learning about others, practicing intercultural sensitivity and trying to make the world a better place.
How do I express my citizenship?
By being interested in people and the world; listening; helping; working against injustice and toward peace.
Nancy from Family on Bikes says:
Being a global citizen is understanding the unity of mankind and knowing that, if we strip the wrapper off, we are all the same. It doesn’t matter what color your skin, what language you speak, what god you worship, or what currency you spend – underneath it all, we are all the same. If we understand that basic truth of humanity, all else follows – you treat others as you want to be treated.
For us, being global citizens takes away the fear of travel and allows us to freely explore other countries. When we realize we are all the same, we have no more reason to fear others. It also frees us up to help others in any way we can – to step up to the plate and help when we see a need. Just as so many people around the globe have reached out to us, we try to reach back when we see the opportunity.
Theodora from Travels With A Nine Year Old says:My son and I are global citizens. It means we learn constantly from others as we travel the world, although we never forget our roots, experiencing a myriad different ways of life and learning that our common humanity is the most important thing there is, and people have much more in common than they have in difference.
We express our citizenship not just by a mobile lifestyle. We make an effort to give back both financially and in terms of time to the communities we visit, most of which are much less wealthy than London, where we come from.
Justin from The Great Family Escape says:
(Also, be sure to check out Podcast Episode #20 – Passport to Global Citizenship)